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Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:29 am

A bunch of people from Physics came up to me today and said theyd needed to know the average length of a runway for a problem. I said it was about 5,800 feet. Am I right? If not what is the answer?
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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:35 am

CMK10: If you are talking about all airports (including small GA airports) I would say you are right. But if you are talking about commercial airports only, I would say about 7,200 feet. Just my opinion, hope it helps.

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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:38 am


Tough question to answer. There are thousands of airports in the world, some with commercial jet service and some without. The question could also be asked other ways, an example lets say "What's the average size of runway equipped to handle commercial jet traffic". The question posed to you is to general and abstract. If I had to answer it, my thinking would be that all newly built airports equipped to handle commercial jet traffic would have to have an average runway size of 7000 feet.

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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:45 am

It depends on the country. Here are the stats for the United States. from

You could get information about any country from this website concerning the number of airfields and the average runway length, measured in meters, 1meter > 3ft.

Airports: 14,720 (2000 est.)

Airports - with paved runways: total: 5,174

over 3,047 m: 182

2,438 to 3,047 m: 220

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1,331

914 to 1,523 m: 2,440

under 914 m: 1,001 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 9,546

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 164

914 to 1,523 m: 1,675

under 914 m: 7,698 (2000 est.)

It looks like here most runways are less than 5000 ft.
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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:47 am

Add up all the runways in every airport in the world, then divide that number by the total amount of runways in every airport in the world and you will get your average. Big grin

Okay, well I'd say that's a difficult question to answer without doing the math I mentioned above. From guessing, I would have to say somewhere between 7000-8000 feet. But like the others said it's quite difficult. Commercial airports obviously have longer runways than General Aviation airports so the average really will not be all that accurate.

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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:54 am

I actually have wondered this myself, so much so that I ended up averaging up 10 random states' paved public runways. Then by averaging these (I know, not totally accurate due to the fact that some of the states had more runways than others) I got an average runway size of 4847x90ft.

Here are the individual state's lengths and widths.

CT 3697 100
NC 4639 99
CO 6309 82
VA 4343 90
UT 5782 89
DE 4514 98
MD 3963 87
AR 4450 88
WY 6340 94
KS 4436 76
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RE: Average Runway Length

Wed Sep 18, 2002 11:01 am

The key question, as GD727 pointed out, is: Does "airports" include small airfields or just commercial airports with regularly scheduled airline service?

If it's the latter, then you don't really need to collect data on each and every airport that is served by the airlines. You can just take a sample of airports from, say, every region of the country (I'm assuming of course that you mean only U.S. airports). You can take, for example, runway lengths of 5 airports on the West Coast, 6 in the Midwest, 7 in the East Coast, 6 from Southern airports, etc. and then just figure out your average from that. If you did it right, it should repreent the majority of runway lengths for most of the major airports in the U.S.. It also represents its average.
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